BMW’s Sochi i3 & i8 Launch Activates Team USA Rights

While VW is the official auto partner of Sochi 2014, BMW is leveraging its status as an official sponsor of Team USA to launch its new electric i3 and i8 models in North America and make a positioning statement about the auto maker’s innovative future.


At the heart of the campaign is a full length documentary about how the auto maker has worked with America’s Sochi sliders on designing a faster bobsled.


The ‘Driving On Ice’ programme follows the progress of the BMW/Team USA design partnership as the auto/athlete alliance aims to help the USA win a gold medal that has eluded it since way back in 1936.


The show aired before the Winter Olympics began on official US Olympic broadcaster NBC and can also be viewed at BMW’s US retail locations.


The documentary preview trailer features Team USA athletes and coaches, along with BMW’s lead designer Michael Scully.



The brand continued to use its Olympic rights to promote its new electric vehicles, the BMW i3 and BMW i8, with a set of three new TV spots developed in partnership with kbs+ and run during NBC’s Winter Olympic coverage.


The ‘Hello Future’ spot, which ran in the Opening Ceremony, features a 1964 recording of 2001: A Space Odyssey author Arthur C Clarke speaking about the future as its showcases the brand’s futuristic looking gull-winged i8.



‘Shhh’ focuses on the BMW i3 and features actress Olivia Crocicchia and follows a boy trying to impress a girl with a joyride.



and ‘Sightings’ promotes the BMW i8 and follows people attempting to describe something other-wordly that they have never seen before



The spots are further supported by four Winter Games themed online-only spots (appearing through the Games at NBC Olympics.com).


‘Cop’ features a man having so much fun driving his i3 that he doesn’t mind getting stopped by the police.



‘Reasons’ highlights just why consumers should drive an i3 (because it is fun)



‘Expect’ reveals the i8’s acceleration and efficiency stats.



The campaign also includes print ads, consumer and retail work and social media activity which includes the ‘BMW Bobsled Time Tracker’ (running from 6 February to 15 February) enabling fans can predict the finish time of the US two-man bobsled’s runs.


The winner gets an ‘Ultimate Bobsled Experience’ in Utah.


The German premium car company also reprised its BMW Drive for Team USA – a national fundraising campaign – for a third time  by inviting consumers to visit BMW dealers for test drives and then making a financial contribution to Team USA for each.


For Sochi 2014 BMW is specifically supporting seven US Olympic and Paralympic athletes: Chris Fogt (bobsled), Steve Langton (bobsled), Elana Meyers (bobsled), Alana Nichols (Paralympic alpine skiing), Heather Richardson (speedskating), Evan Strong (Paralympic snowboarding) and Curt Tomasevicz (four-man bobsled).


Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners is BMW North America’s TV and digital ad and social media agency, media buying and documentary production is handled by UM, while Octagon runs the car brand’s US Olympic Team partnership and athlete relationships.




In a marketing landscape increasingly built around compelling content, the network TV documentary sees BMW as part of the story rather than just an advertiser.


The programme’s balance, focusing more on the bobsledders than the car markers, ensures it is more authentic than advert.


The BMW campaign aims to not only stretch its premium auto positioning into the electric vehicle space, but also to challenge US eco car trend setter and rival Tesla.


Described by the brand itself as its most important (and most expensive) US marketing initiative in 2014, BMW chose the Olympics as its major leverage platform (foregoing advertising in the Super Bowl like so many of its rivals).


Focusing on leveraging BMW of North America rights as the Official Mobility Partner of the United States Olympic Committee.


‘The Olympics are the biggest stage available, and we can own it (within the automotive segment),’ says BMW North America marketing director Michael Jobst.


‘It’s fresh air. It’s free of Audi and Mercedes-Benz. And unlike the Super Bowl, where there’s a lot of attempt to get entertainment value rather than getting the message across, the commercials for the Olympics all tend to be positive in nature.’




BMW Team USA Website



BMW Bobsled Time Tracker Website



BMW USA Website



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